Monday, September 29, 2008

Perspective

I am back and I am in a better place. This means I am back to my ornery self.
The Gators lost and I can't tell you how bad that hurt. I can't remember being this sick over a loss in a long time. I literally had an upset stomach on Sunday, just thinking about that game.
There is a lot of football to be played but...you lose to Ole Miss, LSU and Georgia and FSU, don't look as easy anymore.


I finished the book...The Year of Living Biblically.
It is written by a New York City liberal (and yes this is different than any other type of liberal. I mean Hillary is one of their Senators) and he Jewish by birth.
He is agnostic before he writes the book.
He spends 9 months living out the laws of the Old Testament. Yes, all of the rules. No trimming of your beard. No touching a woman 7 days after her period (so he doesn't touch any women because he doesn't know if they are "unclean") and you can't sit in a seat that an "unclean" woman has sat in, so he brings around his own chair where ever he goes.
He can't eat certain foods. He tithes (and doesn't know who to tithe to, so he gives it to a charity). He observes the Sabboth.
It is funny and sad at the same time. Sad because he is ljust living out the rules, that is it. There is no heart behind the obedience.
The last 3 months he spends adding the New Testament into his life.
He doesn't take a fair assessment of Christians. He visits Pat Robertson's church and visits a Gay man Bible study, among other things.
I would have to say he was fair in all his assessments and took a look at all rules and religions from all sides.
It was depressing in so many ways...
You hear about all these people (scientist, atheists, and the like) go out to prove the Bible wrong and they find so much proof of the existence of God they become "believers".
This guy never did ridicule any religion and talked to alot of people. He even called the Jehovah Witness kingdom hall and asked someone to come over to his house for a talk (needless to say they were shocked).
He said it best close to the end of the book, "I am so much more thankful, but I don't know who to thank."
How stubborn does some have to be?

Well I went to my cousin's daughters Quince this weekend in Miami. A lot of Spanish going on in Miami. So the Gringo Gammichia's roll into Miami Friday morning like the Griswalls.
The party is a fancy so we all brought our nicest clothes.
Hilda had to buy a new dress...Hey what the heck is up with woman and their close? I have 2 suits and I bought both of them over 15 years ago. I wear them to all the wedding, funerals, dental conventions, graduations, Easter, Christman, Baptisms, Confirmations, et al.
But my wife has 36 dresses all worn ONCE.
"I don't have anything to wear." I can't tell you how many times I have heard this.
Now you know I love my wife and I am not picking on her because all woman do this.
What do you mean you don't have anything to wear? I am looking at 20 dresses lined up in a row in our closest?
"Shut up John, you know I can't wear any of those! I wore this one to your dental school graduation. I wore this one at Luke's baptism. I wore this one at Samantha's bat mitzpha.
Sounds like another blog topic.

The dance was pretty great. I drank (but not too much) and I danced. I feel like I represented the white man well. I did a little salsa and merengue and at the end we did a little bootie song dancing (if you are Baptist please pray for me).
Luke my nine year old tried so hard to fit in with his 14 year old cousin. I love that kid, he is truly the apple of my eye.

I won't go into how all the 14 and 15 year old Catholic girls were dressed for this dance. Lets just say I have seen less skin on the cover of FM magazine. Please see my Going to Hell in a Handbasket blog.

Okay, okay the topic.

Perspective

I want to start by telling you about my trip to Mexico.
You all know I went to Mexico on a medical/dental mission trip?
My church organizes this trip every year. We support an organization called Armonia in Mexico City. Armonia has been around for 20 years. So a lot of what you see looks very nice and that is because there has been over 100 mission trips there over the last 20 years.
The people in Mexico take monies raised and make community centers in the poorest of suburbs around Mexico City (so far there is 4).
In these centers, during the non mission trip weeks, they use this place as kind of like a boys and girls club. There are things to do. There is after school programs, there is tutoring. For the mom's there is child care training...and more. But is all centered around having a relationship with God. Sundays is always worship.
But on this weekend it is all medical/dental.
On this trip there is always a pediatrician, an optometrist, a dentist, a pharmacist, and an internal medicine physician, along with about 15 volunteers. Some do hard labor outside of the center and some volunteer to help all the doctors. So it is big to do.
When we get to the center it is bustling with people.


We spend about 8-10 hours a day doing what needs to be done. For me it was treat as many people as I can in the time alotted. If they had 3 cavities I would do them all. If they had a couple bombed out teeth I would take them all out.
I had about a 15-20 break to eat and went back at it.
In this community the dental need is not what you think. It is not as horrible as doing dentistry in the wood or something like that but...
I felt the biggest problem is education. I saw a lot of kids that were not being taken care of "dentally" by their mothers. The mothers simple did not know how to take care of their kids teeth.
The government gives away milk to the poor so they give kids milk all day and all night.
BIG PROBLEM. So I saw a lot of 4 year olds with bombed out teeth.
If you don't know this another name for milk is Lactic acid. Milk if left on teeth will erode teeth faster than candy. It is a NO NO for kids.
So this was a problem.
And in the 8-15 year old I was seeing a lot of decay because of Coca-Cola. All day and all night Coke. This is real bad for teeth. Sugar + Carbonic Acid is a deadly combination for teeth.
This along with not brushing your teeth well is bad.
The problem was I was not able to communicate very well.
So they gave me a 18 year old who was bilingual and we sputtered through the day.
Trying to see as many people as I can while educating each one of them. This turned out to be a problem for me because I was trying to concentrate on the dentistry.
Here is a picture of my first days clinical room. (double click on the image and it will be bigger).
As you can see that it wasn't ideal working conditions. So doing decent dentistry was the primary focus on my mind. As I think about it, I should have spent more time educating. But what I tried to do was educate the people working with me so they can go and tell everyone else.
Lets look at this picture for a minute. What is missing?
No light. I literally had a kid hold a reading light over each patients mouth so I could see.
There was no suction. So we put a bucket by the chair and people just spit in it. EVERYONE USED THE SAME BUCKET AND IT WAS NEVER RINSED.
You just do the best you can.
For all you dentist, I used the same five burs the whole three days I worked. They were out of burs. So I scrounged around and found 5 good ones and used them for three days. (Luckily, one of the burs was a 330 and I wore that thing out).
There was not sterilization. Just wipe them off and use them again. Even my extraction forceps...wipe them off and use them again.
I have to stop here because it is getting long. I will have to continue on Wednesday.
I have lots more photos of the community and the people. I have picture of there homes and how they live.
Talk to you later,
john
ps Tonight is How I Met Your Mother...last week was so good. Watch it...it is funny.

3 comments:

Debby Sutton said...

Regis is on HIMYM tonight!!! Awe --- wait for it --- some!!!

And I wasn't home sick yesterday, just blogging during Sunday School! But, if I had seen the game, which was pushed off the air for a Terp game, I would have been sick too.

Just a thought on Mexico -- could you create a "training guide" in spanish for Saul and co to distribute? Like the educational aspect of it?

peace

mikeandsteph said...

John,
You may not be the meaning in my life, but you are my inspiration as the classic Chicago song goes...i don't know how you do everything that you do. I know that it is not a good thing to compliment people with ego issues, but you are amazing. Not only have I started running because of you (2+ miles at a time, but working my way up hopefully), but you make me want to read more and write more about what God is teaching me. Thank you, not only for your dental abilities that you are using for God's glory, but for your encouragement to others as well. You are the man.

Peace,
Mike

p.s. a blocked PAT? that makes me sick to my stomach too.

t bradigan said...

Have you tried using those small battery-powered head lamps they have for runners and hikers? They are very light but intense.

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